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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 15, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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>> the republican apologizes to bp. but just yesterday industry lobbyists were still calling for lighter regulations. this is why government matters. we need to make sure companies like bp are held accountable. this is not over. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. romney says obama bought the election. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. you'd have thought that mitt romney would have stopped this crap. during the campaign he was out there selling it, that president obama was buying black votes by dumping the work requirement for welfare. remember that little sugar plum? it had it all, the accusation
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that minority voters could be scarfed up with a little chump change. throw them a little something and the votes would come pouring back. here he was yesterday, romney, schmoozing with his donor base about how the whole thing went wrong. it seems the president did a little wholesale purchasing, he said. he bought the minority with health care and bought the students with free student loans. great work there, mitt. you're at it again with your double barrels. one, claims that aren't true, and, two, that old dog whistle of yours. fact. people in the income bracket you mentioned have to kick in to get health care. fact, students still have to play interest on their college loan. nobody is getting anything for free. and the sick thing is your need, mitt, to came they do. to keep saying the president didn't quite win the election, it was all one big bribery case. question. why is mitt still doing this? the election is over and lost. all that's left to save is his reputation. why is he throwing that away? former san francisco mayor willie brown's here, along with ashley parker of the "new york times." mayor, you were a pro, it seems that romney is not a pro.
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he had a good concession speech. the president threw him a big offer to have something look a new hoover commission, something really good for him to do. he whips back with this accusation the president bought the election. >> total and complete bitterness, chris. this man obviously is wrong for the game. he has lost, and he lost badly. he's embarrassed, and he's trying his best to minimize the victory. he's trying his best in some fashion to say to people it was taken from me unfairly, that i should have won, and that if there had been only my kind of people voting i would have won. however, there were some other people voting, and they're the people that you and i don't like. that's what he's saying to his people, and that's wrong. >> let's take a look at the audio from the conference. just like that 47%, it was recorded. let's hear romney talking to his donors in which he says in this tape the president's victory was basically the result of bribes to members of his base. political base.
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portions of the audio were posted online. not the entire call. msnbc is uncertain exactly when the call took place, but let's listen to it. >> what the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote. >> isn't that cute? in other words, it's not democracy, parker. it's not any -- i mean, ashley, this isn't democracy, this isn't actually saying and doing things people like. it isn't like voting democratically. it's like putting the money in the jukebox and out comes the money. what kind of game is he proposing here? >> well, i think the thing you need to keep in mind about governor romney is, a, he's shocked that he lost. he mentioned that on the call, too. he really can't quite get over that he lost. he really thought he was going to win. and he's a data-driven guy. so he's already sort of doing a postmortem going back -- >> this is data mining. >> -- trying to figure out what went wrong.
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and this is one of the things -- >> mayor, it's interesting that a money guy -- i've always noted the sort of symmetry of politics, the mutuality -- people that have a little problem wethics always kutz other pers accuse the other person of ethics problem. someone who bought everything he ever got including his highly paid staff in the campaign. everybody was happy with using money on that side. he assumes he must have been outbid. >> that's exactly what someone who thinks he can buy votes was in fact doing. this guy is a salesman, chris. he doesn't know anything about making decisions based on whether or not it's something you believe in. he is of the opinion that money can generate belief, and in this case he doesn't understand how money didn't generate belief, how in fact dedication and vision and love dedicated -- caused the movement in obama's direction, not money. >> it couldn't be that people believe in barack obama. it couldn't be that many people are devoted to him. it couldn't be that many people see him as in many ways
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potentially one of our great presidents. it must be a cash and carry situation. here are mitt romney's comments about obamas gifts, in line whiz earlier comments. by the way, karl rove must love this. this is covering karl rove. it's about the takers he calls them. remember that 47%? here he is explaining how you buy that 47%. they take, you give. let's listen. >> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. all right? there are 47% who are with him, who depend upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. my job is not to worry about those people. i will never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. >> ashley, here he is again in "usa today." romney in an interview. romney defends the welfare ads which erroneously says obama waived the work requirement for welfare as accurate. accusing obama of offering state waivers as a political calculation designed to "shore
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up his base" for the election. and finally there's paul ryan on the urban vote. let's listen to paul ryan and his looking at this whole ethnic, or urban vote he calls it. >> we were surprised with the outcome. we knew this was going to be a close race. we thought we had a very good chance of winning it. i think the surprise was some of the turnout. some of the turnout in especially urban areas which definitely gave president obama the big margin to win this race. >> you know, ashley, they got to get their accusations straight. somebody on -- one of the leaders of the republican party out there in wisconsin said all the votes were fraudulent votes, they were all stolen. and now he's out there, the presidential candidate, saying they were all bought. and now this guy is -- i have to say to paul ryan, he was just surprised they showed up. he hasn't quite figured out the motive yet. >> i think the romney campaign obviously didn't take into account the huge turnout that the president got. that was one of the problems with their polling. >> is that why they're looking for new explanations? >> i mean, i think they're truly struggling to explain what happened, and they don't really understand how they lost. that's not what their internal
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models told them. that's not what they were expecting. they weren't expecting the huge turnout. and they're sort of searching for explanations. >> let's talk turkey here, mr. mayor. you've worked with donor bases on the democratic side, and you have to i guess occasionally call up contributors and say, well, we were close but no cigar this time but stick with us, we're on the right side of history. why would you call up your donor base, and this was a conference call, why would mitt romney get on a conference call and come up with this sort of odd explanation of everything that they bought the -- you know, this was stolen, we was robbed, basically? why would you do that, politically? >> well, i think it's because it's over for him. he will not be involved in running for office again. and let me tell you, other republicans who think they have a future must in one fashion or another denounce mitt romney and everything he says post this election cycle. if they don't, the republicans will be consigned to the scrap heap of defeat in 2016 and even beyond. i don't understand how anybody other than bobby jindal would be
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the only one who would step up to the plate. they all should step up to the plate. >> well, well said. here's bobby jindal, one of the people who has distanced himself from this claim that the only reason romney lost the race to president obama is because he was outbought here. as you said, here is louisiana governor bobby jindal. let's listen. >> i absolutely reject that notion, that description. i think that's absolutely wrong. that is not -- i don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party. and i think that has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election. >> that's one good sign that a little republican diversity doesn't hurt. because some people can hear what this guy romney is saying. wisconsin governor scott walker backed up jindal's comments saying "the gop isn't just for people who are currently not dependent on the people, it's for all americans." and today, by the way, on "andrea mitchell reports" republican senator kelly ayotte from new hampshire distanced herself also from romney's gifts comment. let's listen to the senator.
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>> so you're not comfortable with what you heard him say? >> i don't know the full context of them, but i don't agree with the comments, and my view is the campaign is over. >> okay. and as of only -- not only her. former mississippi governor hailey barbour, who i do think is smart when he's briefing on politics, described what the gop needs to do right now. let's listen to hailey barbour. >> we've got to give our political organizational activity, you know, a very serious proctology exam. i think that's the only -- we need to look everywhere is my point. >> you know, he's deep south and he's conservative, mayor, but i always listen to hailey for the truth. especially when he's with some other republicans, trying to teach them politics. you know, there's the only guy to come out ahead in katrina by the way, because he knew how to get the job done. what do you think of that? they need to get a proctology --
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when parties get their butts kicked like democrats did in '72, republicans did in '64, when they thought they had -- well, those races didn't look good to begin with, but right now what do you do when you're in a party leadership position? >> well, if they don't adhere to what bobby jindal is talking about, the senator from new hampshire, if they don't understand hailey barbour, i can assure you democrats are really going to get that message. and believe me, if democrats organized in the red state like they did in ohio this time around or like they did in florida this time around or like they did in one or two other states this time around, those red states would send the numbers that nancy pelosi needs to become speaker again. and that's going to happen if the republicans keep thinking like mitt romney. >> you know, that's the question, ashley, and that is as you see the demographic changes, younger voters tend to be more liberal. we have a lot of hispanic people moving into the country, having a lot of kids and voting and being citizens, becoming part of the political process more than ever.
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and you have african-american voters, an african-american president, but there are other factors that have led them to the democratic party potentially. you see a lot of potential for the democratic party to grow. then when you add insult to injury, the other party says you were all bought, it seems to me that would just sort of fortify the democratic tendencies of the people we're talking about here. >> well, it's unclear what wing of the republican party mitt romney, you know, is going to be representing going forward, and i think that's one of the reasons you saw -- >> the mayor says he's out of business. i'm not sure he does have a future. >> that's why it's easy for the republicans to come out and criticize him today, because they're not alienating a tea party constituency. you're not alienating -- >> you said people like jindal and ayotte and people like that and hailey barbour can say the guy is wrong. he's out to lunch. >> i think they did say that. i think they said they didn't agree with those comments. so. >> let me go back to this -- you know, i want to talk about the president for a second, mr. mayor. and i thought he -- i thought mitt romney gave a wonderful concession speech. he said i called the president, did it earlier in the night. didn't string it out. it was 11:20 or so. he came out and basically said,
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you know, he came out alone, didn't bring the family with him, didn't cry on anybody's shoulder, took it like a person of some kind of nobility. he also said, i just talked to the president, i congratulated him, i'm praying for him, i'm here to help him if he wants help. the president came back at the press conference and out of nowhere said he did a good job with the olympics. maybe he can do a good job in getting government more efficient, that's his specialty. like he does in his equity world. and then he does this thing. where do you think that relationship stands between the two of them? is the blood so bad nothing good will come out of this? >> let me tell you, when you offend barack obama, you've got to know that you're in real trouble. this is a guy who appears to forgive, but he never forgets. romney can forget any additional invitations coming from this president. i think no matter how you put it he now knows where romney really stands. it's an affirmation of everything that occurred in the campaign, all the bad things that were said about barack
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obama are still obviously within the dna of mitt romney, and i guarantee you barack obama is not going to give at all on this issue. he's going to move on. >> whoa. look out. look out, mitt. anyway, thank you, mayor. it's always an incisive commentary i get from you. if this is the case, you're right, he better move on. thank you, mayor brown of california -- san francisco. ashley, thanks for coming on. >> thanks for having me. >> "new york times" 37. >> coming up, it's not business. it's personal. that very public dispute from john mccain, who also never forgives, and president obama over susan rice. could it be mccain hasn't gotten over the 2008 election? we're sort of stacking up revenge here on the other side. i got nothing more to say about that. plus spy fall, what we're learning about the affair that brought down the cia chief and perhaps derailed the promotion of the top general. and has been tabloid fodder now for almost a week. and besides complaining about how president obama won re-election by giving away gifts to minorities and young voters,
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ever wonder what mitt romney has done -- actually been doing since the election? well, david letterman has an idea. >> today mitt romney drew a picture of the house of representatives chamber and gave a state of the union address in front of it. >> and the fourth new entitlement, obama care, we repeal that one. >> message from pretend president romney. >> got a few more of those sugar plums in the side shows. let me finish way book about when we hay hero for a president. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ave to eat it as pt of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. hi, i just switched jobs, and i want to roll over my old 401(k) into a fidelity ira. man: okay, no problem. it's easy to get started; i can help you with the paperwork. um...this green line just appeared on my floor. yeah, that's fidelity helping you reach your financial goals. could you hold on a second? it's your money.
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roll over your old 401(k) into a fidelity ira and take control of your personal economy. this is going to be helpful. call or come in today. fidelity investments. turn here. time to bust another 2012 election myth. the idea took hold that african-americans would not be as fired up to vote as they were four years ago. but here is what the nbc news political desk found in looking at the exit polls. in the states with significant black populations, the black vote increased in five states, michigan, mississippi, missouri, ohio, and new jersey. it held firm in pennsylvania, virginia, north carolina, and florida. and it decreased in two states, new york and alabama. neither case was it even close.
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so much for flagging enthusiasm. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] the way it moves. the way it cleans. everything about the oral-b power brush is simply revolutionary. oral-b power brushes oscillate, rotate and even pulsate to gently loosen and break up that sticky plaque with more brush movements than manual brushes and even up to 50% more than leading sonic technology brushes for a superior clean. oral-b power brushes. go to for the latest offers.
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welcome back to "hardball." john mccain and his allies have been trying to turn the benghazi attacks into a political scandal for the president since september. well, yesterday his criticism of susan rice, the ambassador to the u.n., went too far for the president. he hit back during his press conference. let's listen. >> if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador, who had nothing to do with benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. >> that's the slow burn from the president, i'd say. this morning mccain had some strong words for his former opponent, the president. let's listen to mccain.
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>> i know that people don't come to spontaneous demonstrations with rockets and mortars, and for the president of the united states for two weeks afterwards to deny that that was the case is either a cover-up or it is incompetence. >> one of mccain's main allies, senator lindsey graham of south carolina, also responded to the president. he said, quote, "mr. president, don't think for one minute i'm not going to hold you ultimately responsible for benghazi. i think you failed as commander in chief before, during, and after the attack." what's behind all this anger? is it political or personal? and why are they unleashing so much vitriol against ambassador susan rice? jonathan alter is a columnist for bloomberg view and an msnbc political analyst. and ron reagan is an msnbc political analyst. gentlemen, i want you to start with this. it's so unusual to see the president respond at the human level of i'm really mad and you going after a friend of mine, you're going after my person at the u.n. and this is you coming at me and you're going at my character, i'm not missing the point.
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>> i heard from the white house yesterday that he had heard just before the press conference that mccain was talking about filibustering. and he got -- >> if she were put up for secretary of state. >> and he got really angry at that, that his choice for secretary of state, which she's not yet, but that prospectively his choice would be filibustered. >> why is he so ticked, the president? >> because she's completely innocent in this matter. >> not by the likes of the right. they've been pounding her for weeks. >> there are actual facts here, and the facts are that she was saying what the cia told her. >> but that wasn't a fact. but that wasn't a fact. >> mccain's issue is with petraeus, but petraeus is in the club, despite the sex -- >> that's -- >> he doesn't want to go after petraeus. >> she's not a spook. she doesn't go out there and dig up information on benghazi. she's the u.n. ambassador to new york. she has to go out and meet the press. she collects information. she gets the best intel she can get. probably clears it through the white house. i thought made a strong statement to david gregory that weekend, and i thought she was very impressive.
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i thought she was doing what the white house wanted done. whatever she was doing, she was doing what the white house thought was the truth. because why would you lie? because two or three days later it would be clear you were lying, right? >> it wasn't -- >> he keeps saying it was lying. >> we have time lines. that was on the 16th of september. it wasn't until the 22nd of september, according to the cia, that they told rice and the white house that this was, you know, some kind of a terrorist attack. the information wasn't available at the beginning. the whole thing is totally trumped up, chris. it's not just political, it's also personal. >> okay. before we get back to history like condi rice, i want to go to ron reagan on this. you know, there's something deeply personal here. there's something personal on both sides. this guy, john mccain, does not forgive when he loses to somebody. i don't think he ever liked romney. that's why he picked sarah palin. he doesn't like the president. and the way to get to him is to make sure that everybody thinks he's a bad guy. not stupid, not wrong, not too
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liberal, he's evil. he's bad. he's the kind of guy that would serve up a good serving american ambassador like chris stevens in order for a pr stunt or some other unclear motive, but he wants to make the guy look like a bad guy. what do you think is going on here? that's what i think. >> yeah. i think you're right basically. republicans seem to be really bad losers. mitt romney is apparently a bad loser. john mccain, as you said earlier, i don't think he's ever gotten over 2008. so he's looking for any opportunity he has to stick a thumb in barack obama's eye. but jonathan is completely right. he picked the wrong person here. susan rice had nothing to do with benghazi. but look, the republicans are facing an electoral wipeout in the last election. they still want to oppose barack obama any way they can, but what's their excuse? because the american people have now chosen barack obama over the republican guy. so what do they do? they have to gin up a conspiracy, a scandal of some sort, something they can attach the word "gate" to. now it's benghazi-gate. >> ron, you got it. this is the big alternative universal view of their world view in which you don't know
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what color the sky is over there. but they believe that this is as big as watergate, and although nixon got re-elected in '72, he will come down by '74. even though this guy won in '12, he will come down by '14 because of this big gate ron mentioned. they have it in their head this is big time. >> in 1997 after bill clinton got re-elected but before lewinsky, the republicans tried to do the same thing on chinese fund-raising. remember that? they spent the better part of a year trying to turn this into a huge scandal. there's actually a little more to that one than there is to this. this is just exploiting a tragedy for political purposes. >> and here is the great irony. john mccain, who seems like he's the big whistle-blower, going after susan rice yesterday, compare what he said about susan rice yesterday with what he said about another foreign policy expert, in this case condoleezza rice, back in 2005. here is mccain on susan rice. take a listen. >> susan rice should have known better, and if she didn't know better she's not qualified. she should have known better.
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i will do everything in my power to block her from being the united states secretary of state. >> okay. mortal sin, deal breaker, end of her career because john mccain said she had gotten the wrong brief and delivered the wrong brief. however, mccain had a very different reaction back in 2005 when condoleezza rice was nominated for secretary of state despite her direct involvement in the country's iraq policy. mccain trucked up opposition to her nomination to bitterness over losing an election. interesting. let's watch. >> i wonder why we're starting this new congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion. i can only conclude we're doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness at the outcome of the elections. >> talk about a self-indictment. anyway, mccain was asked about the contradiction this morning on the "today" show. let's listen to him now today. >> you said opponents of condoleezza rice were expressing sour grapes after an election loss.
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why is this different? >> because every intelligence agency in the world, including the british, believed that iraq had weapons of mass destruction. that was an entirely different situation. four americans died that didn't have to die. >> okay. two points, i must never let that go past what he just said there. first of all, thousands of people were killed in iraq because of a war that was never justified. thousands. and he said four as if nothing happened in iraq. all those dead iraqis, all those dead americans. all those dead -- hell went loose over there because of that bad policy. and what was the other thing? oh, yeah, wmd, what a clever phrase that was, wmd. it covers all manner of things, biological, chemical. condoleezza rice said nuclear. she said that country had a nuclear weapon, a nuclear weapon. that's why we went to war. don't wait for -- what is it? don't wait for the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. it was her. why does he keep getting -- who does he talk to? an echo chamber? he can keep getting away with that mouthwash they sold us into
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the war with, wmd, not nuclear. all the intelligence agencies in the world didn't agree. and by the way, even our own intelligence agency never believed they had nuclear weapons. >> so why does washington treat him as this great sage on national security policy? >> that's what i want to know. when is that going to stop? >> he's been the most frequent guest on sunday shows, what calvin trillin called the sabbath gas bags on sunday. he's the most frequent guest because everybody assumes he's such a knowledgeable man full of such integrity on foreign policy and national security. yes, he was -- endured great hardship when he was a prisoner -- >> he had a longer period of greatness. he stood up against those people in the "w" campaign in south carolina. >> but in the last three years, chris, he's turned into a cranky and unreliable analyst of american foreign policy. >> i have a more -- explanation which is he's just going over to the hard right where all the safety valves are in the republican party. ron, your last thought. quickly. why has john mccain become this john mccain? he's like the joker in batman.
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you know, life's been good to me. what happened to that guy? >> i think it's personal peak. i think he never got over 2008. he's got a double standard going on between the two rices, and it's apples and oranges. susan rice had nothing to do with benghazi. condoleezza rice had a lot to do with the war in iraq. and the intelligence there. the comparison is specious on any level. >> why doesn't he ever talk about all the republicans who voted against $300 million that hillary clinton wanted to beef up embassy and consulate security? there are some questions that republicans who opposed that need to answer. that's one of the reasons those people lost their lives. >> it's sad. it's sad to see this deterioration. thank you, ron reagan, and thank you, jonathan alter. you guys were incisive tonight. coming up, there are dog whistles and then there are bull horns, and another republican official is blowing his next. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. so you say men are superior drivers?
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." how is mitt romney dealing with his election loss? well, david letterman has been compiling some coping mechanisms all involving a so-called pretend president romney. >> today mitt romney bought the building at 1602 pennsylvania avenue, demolished it, and built an even bigger white house. today mitt romney sent his goons to rough up a guy who kind of looks like mahmoud ahmadinejad. >> how is it going? >> today mitt romney paid a phone sex operator $500 to call him president romney. >> so what i do is bring down the tack rates. >> yes, president romney, lower tax rates. >> today mitt romney drew a picture of the house of representatives chamber and gave a state of the union address in
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front of it. >> and the fourth new entitlement, obama care, we'd repeal that one and finally get our balance sheet right. >> a message from pretend president romney. >> i love that guy's voice. anyway, the real romney has gotten back into the problem area, you could say, with his post-election comments that the president won the election, or re-election, because of gifts he gave minority people and younger voters. also, mystery voters head to maine. it appears there's company up there for alberta darling, that wisconsin state senator who said the other day that lack of voter i.d. cards or voter i.d. laws were largely to blame for mitt romney's loss of wisconsin. here is charlie webster, the republican chairman in maine, on the issue of voter fraud in his state. >> for example, in some parts of rural maine there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted election day. everybody has the right to vote, but nobody in town knows anybody who's black. how did that happen? i don't know.
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we're going to find out. >> anyway, two questions for mr. webster there. one, if all these african-americans were voting where they weren't registered, why didn't anyone stop them? election officials in maine say they're unaware of any cheating up there. two, if democrats were trying to steal a state, why would they go to one with just four electoral votes that hasn't voted republican since back in '88? anyway, webster will not be returning for another term as chairman of that party up there. next, john boehner was re-elected yesterday for a second term as speaker of the house, but georgia congressman louis gohmert, an original charter member of the birther crowd, had a different candidate in mind. who do you think he nominated? newt gingrich for speaker right now. you don't technically actually have to be a house member to be speaker of the house, but it's been the rule historically. by the way, boehner's word to gohmert after the vote, "louie, i love you too." finally this one. after the election we heard certain ceos were threatening to fire employees if president obama won the election. some are going through with it.
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robert murray, ceo of the coal company that ordered employees to attend a rally with mitt romney, laid off 156 employees the day after the election. nice guy. john schneider, ceo of papa john's pizza chain, says he will be cutting employee hours to avoid costs associated with obama care. finally, john metz, ceo of several denny's franchises, says he will add a 5% surcharge to customers' bills to offset the cost of obama care. you don't want to pay extra, he suggests you simply tip the server less to offset the cost. what a sweetheart. up next, new information on the affair that brought down cia director david petraeus. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come.
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hey there. i'm veronica de la cruz. and here's what's happening. hundreds of rockets targeting
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israel were launched today by militants in gaza leading israel to respond with air strikes. the attacks could spark a ground operation in gaz. bp agreed to a $4.5 billion settlement with the u.s. government over the deadly 2010 gulf oil spill. and hostess brands, the makers of twinkies and wonder bread, is expected to make an announcement tomorrow about its future. it said it would liquidate if striking employees didn't return to work today. i'm veronica de la cruz. now back to "hardball." back to "hardball." we now know the identity of that fbi agent, that tampa socialite jill kelley reached out to after receiving suspicious e-mails harassing her earlier this year. e-mails the fbi tracked back to biographer paula broadwell. while frederick humphries, the guy's name who you can see there on the screen, he's a counterterrorism agent who worked in the case of the bomb plot at l.a.x. airport back in '99. and the man at the center of this scandal, david petraeus, is
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set to testify tomorrow morning before closed hearings -- before the house and senate intelligence committees regarding the attack on benghazi. this comes as the cia inspector general has begun investigating whether any government resources were improperly used in the affair between petraeus and broadwell. the "washington post's" sari horowitz is reporting on this story as is bart gelman who wrote the cover story on the new edition of "time" magazine. this is a huge story. i want sari to give us a sense of the public impact of this thing. i mean, it's getting more like, i guess, the kardashian story, just life among these people with mrs. kelley here who, you know, has become the interest of general allen and, of course, she's somehow disturbing the world view of broadwell, who seems to be having an affair with general petraeus. all this sort of back and forth intrigue. it's what you build a soap opera out of because it never stops growing. but what's it matter right now? where are we at in the matter department? >> hi, chris. hi, bart.
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it is a soap opera. there have been jokes that it's not a love triangle, it's a love pentagon. here's what's important on the public interest level. attorney general eric holder at a press conference today in new orleans to announce the biggest criminal settlement, the biggest criminal fines and resolution ever in american history against bp is asked about this soap opera in tampa regarding petraeus. and what he said is, look, there are a lot of things going on right now, but the important thing is there was no breach of national security. if there had been a breach of national security, we would have taken this to the fbi -- the fbi would have taken this to the white house. they would have taken it to capitol hill. but since there was none, we didn't feel like we had to share a criminal investigation. that's an important development. it's the first time he's spoken out on this. >> so there's nothing really there in terms of impact on the country's security. let me go to bart on the same question regarding the relationship between general petraeus, the very recent cia director, and the reporter broadwell. you know, oftentimes, and i guess in movies or in melodrama
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you're used to the fact some reporter is using a romantic relationship, sort of a matahari style or a male could do it, to get information out of a source. was this woman, broadwell, getting anything of intelligence or security matters or classified away from the general? >> well, everyone denies it, and i'm aware of no evidence otherwise. by the way, nobody ever asks me to exchange sex for information so -- although someone did ask me that on twitter today. but the serious point about eric holder's point and sari's point, i think, is that the justice department and fbi made the judgment that the fact that the cia director had a secret that could expose him to blackmail was not in itself inherently ld incurably a risk to national security. they found out something or took some steps that persuaded them that it was okay.
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i think a strong case could be made that that's a decision that should be left to the president. that the president has to decide whether he's comfortable having a cia director with that kind of potential vulnerability. and i'm not sure that the president's going to want the attorney general to substitute his judgment on that the next time. >> well said. but what about the president, who's told about such a relationship? if you're the president of the united states, you're commander in chief, the first officer on the deck, if you will, of this country's surt and you find out a guy who's -- or woman who's head of the cia has been having an affair way reporter and you let them stay in office hour, do you defend that to the public when the public finds out you that knew about it and you okayed it, basically? how do you deal with that politically? >> well, it depends. politically i can't say. substantively, blackmail vulnerability depends usually on whether you're afraid of the secret leaking to your family or to your boss. if you've told both, for example, but haven't announced it to the whole world, a president might decide that that is adequate protection against blackmail, but that's a judgment call the commander in chief should make.
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>> yeah. it also would give the president unusual hold over an employee. besides being able to fire him, he could out him. >> i guess there's that. yeah. >> i'm serious. i'm thinking of all the political impacts. sari, let's get back to this story as you're looking at it. i always figure a first-class reporter like you or a top drawer reporter you're looking at this story as to where it's heading. where is this going to be a week from now? petraeus is going to testify certainly about benghazi i, which i think is going to be a bigger story as it develops. if there is a story, with i'm not sure there is. obviously, they're going to hit that guy harder tomorrow. this question of whether this hanky-panky is going to lead anywhere, if you will. >> well, you know, it's interesting. yesterday when obama was asked about the fbi, which has now come under scrutiny, he said, look, i generally have confidence in the fbi. not a ringing endorsement. he said i generally have confidence, but let me get all the facts about what's happened. and of course the fbi under robert mueller, who has so much integrity and is highly respected, argues that they were doing the right thing. the fbi agent interestingly,
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this is what we found out today, the fbi agent who brought this originally to congress and to eric cantor who called mueller, says he never meant to be a whistle-blower. he was not trying to make a big deal about this case. he just wanted to quietly get it moving, and he told a friend who went to a congressman from washington state where fredrick humphries is from, who went to eric cantor and that's how it got to mueller. >> okay, okay. excuse me. >> he's being incorrectly called a whistle-blower. >> sari, he goes to a congress person, going outside of his agency, about a person who is being accused -- or somebody who is making accusations of being harassed by e-mail. is that important enough, that some woman is hearing from some other woman that's jealous of her, that that's worthy of congressional attention? >> i think the fbi agent heard that general.raeus was involved in this and there had possibly been a breach of his computer. he didn't have all the facts. he wasn't the agent on the case. he just knew bits and pieces of it. and because it had to do with
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petraeus and because he heard the words "national security," he was concerned and didn't want the agency to slow -- >> chris -- >> is humphrey a republican or democrat? i just want to know. is he pro or against the president? >> i really don't know what political stance the agent is, no. >> can i just cut in? what sari just said may be the only security breach in this case that we know happened for a fact. this agent who brought the case to the tampa field office was not part of the case, had been told repeatedly as we understand it not to get involved in the case, and if they've picked up in the course of it the fact that paula broadwell is involved with the cia director, how does he know that? he's not supposed to know that. >> bart's exactly right. obviously, he's getting information from the investigators or miss kelley, but he's not part of the case. exactly right, bart. >> i have been hearing from the liberal or progressive blogs, they're very suspicious about why he did what he did, why he went to the congress with this, to the republican congress people and going to cantor ultimately makes people wonder
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what was his political angle? i'm always curious about that. >> it's interesting, chris. chris, it's interesting, he sent a photo to miss kelley of him and jesse jackson at a political fund-raiser. so that's why i say it's unclear what his political affiliations are. >> you're right. that does murk it up a bit. thank you, bart gelman. thank you, sari horowitz. thanks for ruining my theory. up next, president obama toured some of the hardest-hit parts of the new york area as the recovery continues after hurricane sandy. there's chuck schumer right behind him. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ng you ship my gifs couldn't be easier. well, having a ton of locations doesn't hurt. and my daughter loves the santa. oh, ah sir. that is a customer. let's not tell mom. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. fedex office.
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mitt romney failed to carry his home state of massachusetts and the romney/ryan ticket didn't win paul ryan's home state of wisconsin either. 20 presidential tickets in american history have lost both their home states, although romney and ryan are the first to reach that level of futility since 1972 when george mcgovern and sargent shriver didn't carry either of their home states, south dakota or maryland. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] how could switchgrass in argentina, change engineering in dubai, aluminum production in south africa, and the aerospace industry in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus
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workers, he also announced hud secretary shaun donovan to oversee rebuilding efforts. there's going to be a lot of work up there. senator schumer was with the president. we saw him in the picture. senator schumer, you know, the more you read about it, "the nork times" has been good about covering this and the other papers up there. the sense that this isn't a bad week or two or a bad month. >> oh, no. >> this is destruction of homes without any home left. the home thaz are lost, that have been destroyed, talk about it if you can. the whole country. how bad is it? it's like katrina. >> it is awful. it's close to katrina. you know, the first day i flew in a helicopter with the governor in maine and i saw how widespread it was. in the last two weeks i've been going in all the communities. you see how deep it is. it's a combination. there are probably 100,000 homes that have been destroyed. that's 300,000 people without homes. that's the size, you know,
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that's a middle-sized american city. we have lots of office buildings downtown that can't work. nyu hospital, one of the leading hospitals in the country, all their machines were on the first floor in the basement. hundreds of millions of dollars of mri z and amts. the damage is varied in so many different ways and so deep. i was up on the 16th -- i didn't climb up that high, the 18th floor of a housing project. three elderly women had been there two weeks. they couldn't get down, no electricity, no elevators. and there they are. they don't have water. they don't have light. they don't have heat or plumbing. volunteers were bringing them food and clothing. it's just awful. it's just awful. >> tell us about this. i've been trying to bring attention to some of the groups i've gotten to know in the last couple weeks. tell me about the federal government. if you lose a house, if you have your electrical system destroyed, if everything around the house basic aally has to be rebuilt -- >> this is one of the problems.
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the most private insurance doesn't have -- is not flood insurance. >> it's only when. >> some people have flood insurance and some people don't. and then fema will pay a maximum of 34, $100. you can have a bungalow and 31, 400 isn't going to bring that home back. it's something we're going to have to do. there are so many different things that have to be covered here. the storm was so great, 14 feet higher than we've ever seen it. the brooklyn battery tunnel had 100 million gallons of water from one end to the other, totally full that had to be pumped out. but in addition to that, we have -- we have so many places where the -- all the barriers, the natural barriers -- are gone. and there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who live close to the water. >> tell me about this -- what are we going to get? you're a powerful senator. you've been good at it.
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after 9 sl-11. the governor said we need $20 billion. >> by the way, he stuck by it. i asked him privately in the room with senator clinton and the two virginia senators. he said yes. then we went outside. he spoke. he didn't announce it. i said the president's been extremely generous. he's promised $20 billion for new york to rebuild. >> i can't believe the damage done to manhattan, the garage attendant. >> it's everywhere. it's so widespread because it hit over such a large area. i'm just saying in new york. new jersey has similar-type damage. obviously here's a republican house that has not been as friendly to disaster relief. the disaster money for irene was actually held up because these folks said for every dla you spend on disaster, you've got to find a play to cut. that's a way to make sure we
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don't help in disasters. >> you have a place to make noise. keep coming back to us about this. >> thanks, chris. >> i told you yesterday about st. francis church in bell harbor in rockaway in queens. they've set up a relief center that's doing a huge service helping people get access to generators. if you want to help this local relief effort, send a contribution to saint francis de sales parish, 129-16 rockaway, beach boulevard, belle harbor, new york. you're watching "hardball" right now, the place for politics. [ male announcer ] introducing the new dell xps 12. part of a whole new line of tablets from dell. it's changing the conversation.
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let me finish tonight with this. i spent a good zeal of time pulling together the powerful unknown story of the late president john f. kennedy. i wrote the book in an unusual way for a historic figure. i based it on people who knew him personally, very personally, guys who worked with him in politics, pals from the navy. people who served as i said as fellow politicians. the book attempts to answer that question that jack kennedy, himself, said was really the reason people read biography or history in the first place to find out what he's like. in searching for jack kennedy, i found a fascinating man, a reader himself of history, a true war hero. i found a fighting prince never free from pain. never far from trouble. never accepting the world he found. never wanting to be his father's son. was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.